Could hundreds or thousands of drones in the sky ever replicate the thrill we get from watching a fireworks display?
Intel is hoping to reproduce a little of that magic with its Shooting Star drones. They’re equipped with lights to provide a show in the night sky, and Intel is offering a whole fleet of them as a service to theme parks, entertainment companies, and cities.
Last year, the company managed to get 100 of them flying in formation to produce patterns and, of course, the Intel logo. Now it’s managed to synchronize 500 of the devices to display more ambitious and complex patterns (and yes, a better Intel logo).
Here’s a video of the drones taking flight in Germany, where Intel has been testing out the flight routines.
Intel says it’s already received the necessary clearance from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly the drones as a fleet with a single pilot at nighttime in the U.S., so you could see them in the sky sometime soon.
The drone display service is the latest in Intel’s push into the drone space.
Intel sees drones as an interesting and fast-expanding marketplace, and the company has been moving to compete with products and systems under its own brand name. That’s a change from its typical place as a behind-the-scenes supplier of components and software.
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Martyn Williams produces technology news and product reviews in text and video for PC World, Macworld, and TechHive from his home outside Washington D.C.. He previously worked for IDG News Service as a correspondent in San Francisco and Tokyo and has reported on technology news from across Asia and Europe.